Eye specialists needed in PNG

Papua New Guinea is 25 years behind in the field of ophthalmology.

Ophthalmology is the branch of medicine that deals with the anatomy, physiology and diseases of the eyeball and orbit.

The country has only 8 national ophthalmologists or eye specialists.

Given the total population of almost 8 million people, this means one ophthalmologist to a million people.

“And this is very alarming,” says ophthalmologist Dr Amyna Sultan, director of Pacific International Hospital.

She also offers lectures and assists in training ophthalmology residents at UPNG’s school of medicine.

She says there is a need to train more eye care professionals for this country.

“The need is so much. We need to introduce more training positions and encourage more of our young doctors to take up ophthalmology as a profession and join the training program,” she said.

In the meantime, Dr Sultan says PNG needs help from international ophthalmologists.

“Ophthalmology has become a very sophisticated sub-specialised field. This little eye has 11 sub-specialities,” Sultan explained.

She also announced that PIH recently got a new machine for phaco-cataract surgery. This machine also does retina surgery, previously unavailable in PNG.

PIH last month saw its first list of retina surgery.

“We will have regular sessions going forward. Those with retinal problem or bleeding at the back of the eye or retinal detachment can be helped,” she said.

Gloria Bauai